The San Francisco 49ers Are Hoping For A Big Change In Their Defense In 2019.
My series covering every NFL team continues with this article taking a look at the San Francisco 49ers buys. I will be identifying buy-low players that I would consider adding ahead of the 2019 season. Also included will be my recommendations on what it might take to acquire these players.
Arik Armstead, Defensive End:
Arik Armstead, 24, is coming off of his best season as a pro, in 2018. He ended last season with 33 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits, and a career high three sacks. This was all done as a first time 16 game starter. Despite Armstead being in the final year of his contract, and owed a little over $9 million, the 49ers have said they plan on keeping him around.
With the additions of Nick Bosa and Dee Ford the 49ers plan to move Armstead back inside to defensive tackle, his original position. Armstead has been playing out of position at defensive end since he came into the league. DeForest Buckner should garner most of the attention in the middle of the defense and a pairing with Armstead could create a formidable pass rushing duo up the middle.
With all of the new additions on defense and the strong support from the team, I think Arik has a great chance to build on last seasons production. He makes a great buy low candidate for 2019, given that with the new additions he might have been the forgotten player, along that defensive line.
He should be owned in all leagues, but given that he only started all 16 games for the first time in his four year career and his injury history, he might be someone you could add at a discount. If he can build on last season, I project him with defensive end two/three production.
Honorable Mention: Dee Ford, Defensive End.
Malcolm Smith, Linebacker:
Malcolm Smith, 29, is coming off of an injury plagued first season in San Francisco. Earlier this off season he agreed to a significant pay cut to remain with the team. He ended last season with 22 solo tackles, three tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits. He started only five of the 12 games he played in, a year ago. If he can get healthy, he has a great chance to start along side new addition, Kwon Alexander, and current teammate Fred Warner. Assuming he can nail down the starting spot, he should become a nice rebound candidate and thus a great buy low target, for this season.
Tackles may be hard to come by playing with both Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander but if you date back to his first season in Oakland he had four sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and six QB hits. The 49ers may want to use him as their pass rushing linebacker as Warner and Alexander are the superior cover guys. This behind the line tackle upside is what makes him a good buy low candidate. Plus in his two seasons with Oakland he surpassed 100 tackles so he has shown good ability in the past.
He should be available on your waiver wire, but if not, it shouldn’t cost you more than a late round pick to acquire him. Assuming he’s named a starter, I project him with linebacker four/five production, for 2019.
Honorable Mention: Kwon Alexander, Linebacker.
Ahkello Witherspoon, Cornerback:
Ahkello Witherspoon, 24, is going into his third season with the 49ers. Even though he hasn’t started 16 games, due to various different reasons, his production has improved from year one to year two. He ended last season with 30 solo tackles, and four pass deflections. He did this over 12 games started and 14 games played. If he can remain healthy, I see him as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. Witherspoon is someone who should get thrown at a lot, if he can nail down the starting job, thus making him a great buy low target for 2019.
He should be someone who is available on your waiver wire. I see Witherspoon with cornerback three/four production.
Honorable Mention: Adrian Colbert, Safety.
With all of the new additions to this defense, I’m expecting a big time improvement and I think the players listed, will be key to making that happen. This is a defense that I will be looking to get as much of as I can. Ranking these buy-low players in order of priority, it would be, Malcolm Smith, Arik Armstead, and Ahkello Witherspoon Hopefully, you find these recommendations helpful in your quest to build that championship roster for 2019. Please keep an eye out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Please note that when I say linebacker four/five or cornerback three/four potential, that is basing it off of a 10 team dynasty league.